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The log in my eye

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“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:1-5

There’s been something wandering around my brain since my flight home last week. As I wrote previously, as part of being bumped, the gate agent had upgraded me to first class for my second flight. This was not something I had experienced for at least 15 years. I am certainly not a high class type of girl 😉

The man sitting next to me was working on his iPhone when I found my seat. He had what appeared to be a portfolio and a hardcover book on his lap as well. The book was a tan color and had a beautiful paisley pattern on it. It wasn’t until we had to put away our electronic devices that I found out what it actually was. The man was carrying an “old-school” hardcover Bible.

I complimented him on the Bible – it really was quite beautiful. He said something like “you have to carry it for those times when you can’t have your electronic devices out.” He was working on a Bible study so that pretty much ended our conversation.

After a short while, the man put his Bible away and opened his portfolio. Only it wasn’t actually a portfolio, it was his iPad. I tried not to spy on him too much (even in first class those seats are still close together) but I noticed that he was watching some videos of sermons from a church in our area. It is a church that would typically be referred to as a megachurch and often attracts famous authors and speakers. A few weeks ago I heard an ad on the radio from this church that guaranteed the return of your tithing money if you did find yourself blessed within three months.

And this is the part where it gets sticky. I found myself judging this man that I didn’t even know. How dare he sit in his expensive first class with all his fancy electronics and read his Bible?! Doesn’t he know there are hurting and hungry people all over world and even in his own backyard?

But wait – wasn’t I sitting right next to him – using my laptop, listening to music on my iPod. Maybe this was his first time in first class too, and maybe he was sitting there because he got bumped off a different flight.

I’m still not sure how to resolve the whole thing in my mind. What do you think?


4 responses

  1. Sara-
    As you said, you can’t judge. You never know what shoes the guy next to you is walking in. Be grateful you got on a flight and got to your destination. Remember – he might have been judging you with all your electronics.

  2. This is a conundrum that would seem exclusive to Christian theology: the idea that if you have more physical belongings than the next person, you are further from Christ and Heaven. (What was that scriptural quote about a camel passing more easily through the eye of a needle than a rich man entering Heaven?) What isn’t discussed is how one uses those belongings, that wealth… Spending money on luxuries means you are allowing those less fortunate than you to earn a living — the highest form of mitzvah, or good deed. Spending money on something to protect and improve your own health means that you are physically better able to attend to someone else’s health. In many ways, the more money (of your own) you are able to invest in goods and services, the more you are able to help other people in very mundane ways (food on the table, access to healthcare and medicines, etc.) Being a Good Steward is not restricted to the theological plane; it extends to all manners in which we can serve Him.

  3. I think it’s sometimes hard not to come to conclusions about people and(or) situations. I think it’s very unfortunate in this world that some people have the means to fly first class, voluntarily and all the time when other people can’t even afford a local bus ride or a decent place to live. My heart breaks for the people in the latter category too. But I would try not to let it bother you since you don’t know his whole story and the circumstances for him being on that plane, in that seat.

  4. I’ve thought about your post and thoughts for a couple of hours now – read it at lunch, still thinking.
    I think it’s wonderful that you ended up in first class. What a treat! I’ve never sat in first class but both my kids have, for the same reason – a bumping.
    I like Tmana’s response.
    I also think “luxury” can mean many things, depending upon who you are and where you’ve been.
    You, Sara, share and give so much to others that I hope you feel no guilt for sitting in a first class airplane seat. Instead, be grateful that you can share your time, your talents and even your treasure.

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